Wednesday, 12 October 2011

No dramatic news!

The readings coming in from Ozwold have been infrequent because of low light intensity and failure to keep the solar battery constantly charged. However, readings show that he has moved further afield, but he is still in NE Scotland, so it's a huge relief to know that he's moving about.

The question still remains as to why he is still in Scotland? I've read reports of other osprey sightings in Scotland at the moment, so I wonder if he has a problem, or is he on the end of the range of normal variation for timing of migration?

Ospreys are tough birds. On their migration they survive extremes of conditions from freezing temperatures across mountain ranges, storms at sea and the blistering heat of the desert. So I hope the reason Ozwold is still in Scotland is because he's biding his time, waiting for the right moment his body clock tells him to leave. I just hope he gets going soon.

On another note, I had a fantastic couple of days at a secondary school in Wigan talking about Sky Hawk, wildlife and the process of writing. It was brilliant to see kids so engaged and interested in wildlife. There were some great ideas in the writing workshops too. So a big thank you to all year 7s for making me feel so welcome.

On my drive back home, I was musing how amazing it would be if all children could have the opportunity to get out to some of our wildlife reserves and national parks for 'outdoor learning'. Actually 'outdoor learning' sounds bland and smacks of sound bites. Although teaching in these locations brings subjects such as ecology, history, geography art etc etc to life and makes them palpable and understandable, it offers much more than that.
There are some processes of learning that cannot be immediately assessed or graded...and that's the ability to simply just be, and observe the world around and time to think, uncluttered from demands of exam grades, TV, computers etc. Children often don't get that time to think, to wonder or to dream...and that's such a huge part of learning whether for arts or for science. Maybe that's the same for all of us. I know many writers...and I have to include myself here, who have to switch off the internet before they start writing or it becomes too tempting to check twitter and Facebook and emails etc.
In the summer I watched my own daughter watching wasps as they flew to and from their hole in a muddy bank. She lay on the grass for ages, just watching them. She told me tiny details she'd observed...the way they wiggled their antennae, the different hum of their wings as they entered the hole. Then she asked the questions...where do they go in winter? what happens to their nest...of course then I had to get the books out to find out!
So I just wonder what would happen if children could have a few days to build dens in wild places and have the time to clear their heads of the busy demands on them, and simply just be...
Any comments welcome...or maybe I have stirred up a nest of hornets?

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